KALISPELL — Butte High dug itself too big of a hole Friday night at Legends Field.
Jackson Pepe returned a punt yards for a touchdown as the Kalispell Glacier built a quick 21-0 lead, and the Wolfpack knocked off the Bulldogs 55-21 in a Class AA football game.
The score was the first of three straight for Pepe, who scored on a 10-yard pass from Tadan Gilman and on a 20-yard run.
The clock still had 7 minutes, 12 seconds left in the first quarter.
“We have to start the game,” Butte High coach Arie Grey said. “We didn’t start tonight.”
Kiley Caprara hauled in an 80-yard pass from Ty Peterson as the Bulldogs got on the board with a quick strike with 7:00 on the first-quarter clock.
Glacier, though, answered with a 23-yard Drew Turner run.
Kalispell took a 34-7 advantage into halftime, thanks to a 5-yard fumble return by Hunter Rauthe.
Caprara’s second TD reception of the day — this time a 25-yard strike from freshman Tommy Mellott — cut the lead to 34-14 after Nathaniel Ferguson’s extra point.
Again, Glacier answered when Gilman hit Patrick O’Connell for a 55-yard score to close out the third quarter.
Bulldog Bo Mortenson busted into the end zone for a 1-yard run early in the third quarter.
Glacier’s Cole Crosby capped the scoring with a 2-yard run 3 minutes later.
“We had our opportunities,” Grey said. “We have to capitalize on those opportunities.”
Grey said he was pleased with the effort his team put out.
“We played hard and physical,” the coach said. “We’ve got to eliminate mistakes. They’re mistakes that are easy to eliminate.”
Gilman passed for 251 yards in the win. He also ran for 77 yards on nine carries.
Caprara caught eight passes for 166 yards, while Mortensen ran for 75 yards on 20 carries for the Bulldogs.
The road trip was the last of the regular season for the Bulldogs, who fell to 2-5 on the season. Butte High plays Helena High next week at Naranche Stadium before Helena Capital comes to town to close out the regular season in two weeks.
Grey said the Bulldogs are still playing for a spot in the playoffs as they had home for the final two games. He said his team will bounce back from Friday’s loss.
“We’ll be ready to go,” he said.
Butte High 7 0 7 7 — 21
Kalispell Glacier 27 7 14 7 — 55
G—Jackson Pepe 44 punt return (Cameron Anderson kick), 10:32
G—Pepe 10 pass from Tadan Gilman (Anderson kick), 9:02
G—Pepe 20 run (Anderson kick), 7:12
B—Kiley Caprara 80 pass from Ty Peterson (Nathaniel Ferguson kick), 7:00
G—Drew Turner 23 run (kick failed), 0:16
G—Hunter Rauthe 5 fumble return (Anderson kick), 11:54
B—Caprara 25 pass from Tommy Mellott (Ferguson kick), 5:46
G—Patrick O’Connell 55 pass from Gilman (Anderson kick), 3:18
B—Bo Mortensen 1 run (Ferguson kick), 11:56
G—Cole Crosby 2 run (Anderson kick), 9:02
First Downs 21 55
Rushes-Yards 35-104 38-270
Passing Yards 242 251
Att/Comp/Int 37-21-2 27-15-0
Total Plays-Yards 72-346 65-521
Fumble Returns-Yards 0-0 1-5
Punt Returns-Yards 1-2 2-41
Kickoff Returns-Yards 4-61 4-62
Interception Returns-Yards 0-0 2-16
Punts-Avg. 7-36.9 7-31.4
Fumbles-Lost 4-3 2-1
Penalties-Yards 8-65 14-106
RUSHING—Butte, Bo Mortensen 20-75, Tommy Mellott 7-38, Kiley Caprara 1-2, Ty Peterson 5-1. Glacier, Drew Turner 12-80, Tadan Gilman 9-77, Cole Crosby 12-69, Jackson Pepe 5-44.
PASSING—Butte, Ty Peterson 14-24-2-151, Tommy Mellott 7-13-0-91. Glacier, Tadan Gilman 15-27-0-251.
RECEIVING—Butte, Kiley Caprara 8-166, Brady Deck 3-33, Will O’Connor 2-19, Kash Kelly 4-15. Glacier, Patrick O’Connell 4-106, Ethan Larson 2-66, Scout Willcut 5-46, Andrew Durado 3-23.
INTERCEPTIONS—Glacier, Jackson Pepe 1, Justin Gibson 1.